City officials of Chadwick Boseman‘s hometown of Anderson, South Carolina, say they’ll build a statue of the late actor that will be fit for a king. Boseman passed away at 43 years old from colon cancer on Friday, Aug. 28.
At the same time that plans for the permanent sculpture are being rolled out, a petition on change.org is gaining signatures in support of a request to “Replace the Confederate Monument in Downtown Anderson with a statue of Chadwick Boseman.” That particular Confederate memorial is located in front of the Anderson County Courthouse.
TMZ reports that city officials already have reached out to an artist, and are brainstorming ideas for how to best honor Boseman, which reportedly may include a sculpture and mural. The mayor’s office also is seeking public input.
The petition to replace the Confederate memorial is close to the 75,000-signature goal.
“The Confederate Monument belongs in a museum but has no right to be displayed there,” it reads. “I believe the community should come together to honor someone from Anderson, South Carolina that was able to change the movie industry. He opened many doors for many young Black people with his leading roles in movies such as ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Marshall.’ “
The petition continues, “There is no need for political controversy in this decision. The old statue need not be destroyed; however, with the engravings on the base, it is beyond time for its retirement. The Anderson County Museum should be the permanent home to the Confederate monument. It should be accompanied by the history of the monument and the reasoning for its relocation.”
The petitioner then stated the Confederate memorial should be removed whether it’s replaced by Boseman’s statue or not.
The already iconic actor never revealed his condition to the public after receiving his cancer diagnosis in 2016. “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler didn’t even know, and neither did Spike Lee, who directed “Da 5 Bloods,” one of Boseman’s last films before he passed away.
The only people who knew were family, close friends and team members, including his producing partner Logan Coles, agent Michael Greene, and trainer Addison Henderson.
“I used to tell Chad, ‘Man, you remind me of my dad,'” said Henderson, who’s father beat cancer four times. ” ‘You guys are fighters, and you never stop moving forward.’ For us, it was just like, ‘Let’s keep going, let’s keep doing what you want to do, let’s keep training.’ And then, me and Logan and his family, his wife [Taylor Simone Ledward], we were always just here to support him … He was just living his artistic life to the fullest and using his time and his moment to really affect people.”
A spokesperson for Terence Roberts — Anderson, South Carolina’s first Black mayor — said public input is important so that the statue so it’s done properly and people aren’t let down.